The father of a Fairfield Middle School seventh-grader said his daughter was the victim of repeated bullying, which led her to take her own life last week.
Emilie Grace Olsen, 13, died Dec. 11 at her Fairfield Twp. home. Her father, Marc Olsen, told the Journal-News that Emilie endured both physical and cyber bullying this school year and the previous school year while a student at Fairfield Intermediate School.
Olsen said he is considering legal action against the school district.
“I’m not looking for a witch hunt … I’m speaking up for her because she can’t do that now. She’s over in a funeral home in downtown Hamilton. I need to do this. This is my job. I’m not going to fail her again,” Marc Olsen said.
Fairfield City Schools reported 30 incidents of bullying during the 2013-14 school year, according to the Ohio Department of Education. That’s the third-most in Butler County behind Hamilton City Schools (120) and Lakota (91). Bully is only documented by schools if there is a repeated occurrence between the same set of individuals.
Fairfield City Schools, in a statement released Monday, said it takes bullying “very seriously” and that is has policies and protocols in place to address it.
“The middle school administration was advised of previous concerns regarding bullying; however the district believed the issue had been resolved with the complete satisfaction of the family,” a statement from the school district read.
Olsen said he addressed issues with school officials this year when his daughter received her schedule and expressed concerns about some of her classmates, who she told her father had bullied her.
“It (the bullying) was taken care of in the sixth grade, but then it carried over,” Olsen said. “The kids followed her to the seventh grade in a new physical school and it started again.”
The school did change her classes this past September, Olsen said.
“I thought it was addressed and it was done. But it wasn’t done,” he said.
Friends of Emilie’s said they also witnessed the bullying.
“Unfortunately there were a select number of students who felt she shouldn’t be the person she was and (they) were … putting her down and letting her know exactly how they felt. So yes, she was bullied daily,” said Amanda Marcero, a friend of the family.
Emilie’s mother, Cynthia Olsen, declined to comment Monday about the bullying incidents. Instead, she recalled the day she adopted her then nine-month-old daughter from China.
“We prayed about it for a long time … we got Emilie in 2002. We went over there for three weeks. We enjoyed being over there, and we got to know our daughter and we brought her back. She was an interesting little girl,” she said.
Emilie enjoyed her schoolwork and had perfect attendance, according to her mother.
Emilie “had a smile that would light up a room. She loved playing volleyball. Emilie was the type of person who would help people who were new to school and she had an extremely sweet spirit about her,” Marcero said.
A gathering for family and friends will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the Community Christian Church, 3401 Millikin Road, with funeral services at 7 p.m. The family suggests that memorial contributions be made in Emilie’s name to the church.
Thank you for reading the Journal-News and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Journal-News. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.